How to align subtitle timing with a new video edit
When a video has been reedited, the changes may affect the timing of the speech. This results in the current subtitles being off sync. This article explains how to adjust subtitles to new versions of talks.
- 1 Types of video edits and related timing adjustments
- 2 How to make timing adjustments
There are a few types of changes you may encounter in the new version of a video, and each of them requires a different type of timing adjustment. In many cases, edits made in a video will encompass instances of all the types of changes described below.
- Content was added, removed, reduced or extended at the beginning
- Move the timing of all the subtitles forward or backward by the duration of the section added or removed from the beginning of the talk.
- Content was added, removed, reduced or extended at the end
- Add or remove subtitles as necessary. Time the new subtitles with the speech in the modified section of the video.
- Sections inside the video were removed
- Delete the redundant subtitles, then move the timing of all the subsequent subtitles backward by the combined duration of the removed subtitles.
- Sections inside the video were added
- Move forward the timing of all the subtitles that follow by the combined duration of the new section. Add and translate the missing subtitles and time them with the speech in the new section.
- Minimal changes were made inside the video
- Changes such as a short phrase being replaced may not require adjusting the timing of subtitles, if the duration of the new section is identical or similar to the equivalent section in the previous version of the video.
How to make timing adjustments
The extent of changes in the video may influence the choice of tools and strategies you employ to adjust the timing.
Use the “Copy timing” feature
This feature can only be used if the original transcript has been aligned with the new version of the video. The “Copy timing” feature will overwrite the timing of the translation with the timing of the latest revision of the transcript. In order to access this feature, open the Amara editor, click the “wrench” icon under the video, and select “Copy timing.”
In order to avoid creating errors in the timing of the translated subtitles while using the “Copy timing” feature, follow the steps below:
If no speech has been added or removed in the re-edit (e.g. a music intro was added)
- Make sure that the number of subtitles in the transcript and the translation is identical.
To easily check the number of subtitles, download the transcript and the translation as .srt files, open them using a text editor, and compare the number of the last subtitle in each file. If the subtitle number is not identical, watch the video to find out where subtitles were split or merged. Undo those edits (even if you temporarily end up with subtitles with technical issues), copy timing, and then restore the previous subtitle structure (by splitting and merging the subtitles back) before continuing with step 2 below.
- Copy timing and rewatch the video
While the overall subtitle timing will be adjusted to the new edit, you may need to make finer adjustments after copying timing. One common example is readjusting the subtitle duration in cases where it was extended compared to the original transcript in order to remove reading-speed issues.
If speech has been added or removed in the re-edit
- Start with the same number of subtitles as in the previous transcript
Following the steps described above, compare the translations against the transcript of the previous version of the video, making sure the number of subtitles is identical.
- Add and remove subtitles
Having equalized the number of subtitles with the previous transcript, watch the talk with the newest transcript, and add or remove subtitles as necessary. When adding subtitles, disregard exact timing. Make some room to accommodate them, and insert short subtitle “stubs” with the full subtitle text, disregarding reading speed issues in this step. Copying the timing will later adjust their duration automatically.
- Copy timing and rewatch the video
Rewatch the video with the subtitles on to make finer adjustments to the timing. If applicable, restore the split and merged subtitles you modified in step 1.
Use an offline subtitling tool
Free and paid offline subtitling tools often offer advanced features useful for timing adjustment. See [How_to_subtitle_offline|this guide] to subtitling offline for software suggestions and detailed instructions.